6 Dubai Christmas markets you have to visit
Christmas shopping is rarely enjoyable. Tackling malls with a shopping list as long as your arm? Not fun. And where’s the festive cheer in a Spinney’s sprout scrum? Worry not, though, as you can find merry refuge in a number of winter markets. Expect everything you’d expect; spiced drinks, gingerbread men, stollen, handmade decorations and tinsel-touched craft stalls, but this line-up will get your bells jingling right up until the big day.
Dubai Winter Festival
Everything you love about Christmas. And we do mean pretty much everything: gift and food stalls, clouds of icing sugar, fairground rides, a pantomime, loads and loads of carol singing, gingerbread houses, live performances from The Rat Pack tribute band (okay, a bit niche that one) and you can build your own snowman. The only thing that’s missing is your mum’s homemade mince pies, but you’ll soon forget about those anyway.
When: December 8-10
Where: Media City Amphitheatre
Christmas Carnival with Handmade Dubai
A three-day Christmas carnival in the gardens of this expat haunt. Handmade items take the stage here and local independent businesses get a festive leg up with a space to showcase their goods. It is the season of goodwill. Clowns, face painting, henna artists and balloons-in-the-shape-of-dogs will keep the kids happy while you enjoy a post rummage bite.
When: December 15-17
Where: Reform, The Lakes
Ripe Festive Market
Ripe’s new weekly night market gets a festive twist for December in their usual idyllic spot overlooking the sea. Call it Christmas shopping the Dubai way – lots of choice with a great view. And the Mina Seyahi culinary team will put on the food – try not to go back for more from the Buns & Cows burger truck!
When: Every Wednesday, 2pm-9pm
Where: Le Meridien Mina Seyahi
Ink, Sweat & Tears Xmas Edition
Bring your favourite bearded pal to a Christmasy version of Toil & Tinker’s Ink, Sweat and Tears. It will still showcase the works of illustrators, artists, designers and printers in the UAE, but you get to screen-print Christmas cards to a soundtrack of live music from Freshly Ground Sounds and DJs Shadi Megalla and El Frezidante spinning funk, soul and hip-hop tunes all afternoon. Food truck brings the festive fuel.
When: December 9
Where: Toil & Tinker, The Courtyard, Al Quoz
A Little Piece of The North Pole in Dubai
The hotel that doesn’t do things by halves opens a suitably enormous Festive Village this week. Expect a winter wonderland that’s all about the delicious treats; traditional cakes, mince pies and cookies, deeply stocked hampers and towering gingerbread houses. There’s even a chocolate river and why not go home with a glitter tattoo of a Christmas pudding? The jolly old man himself is set to make a special appearance, too.
When: December 1-January 7, 9am-11pm
Where: The Atlantis, The Palm
Christmas Market at The Garden Brunch
It’s not just stalls here. The Garden Brunch at Raffles gets a sprinkling of festive magic as the scenic Raffles Garden transforms into an outdoor market full of crafts, with live cooking stations serving festive fodder including mince pies, roasted chestnuts and turkey shawarma. Then there’s the famous Raffles Roast to dive into afterwards, as well. Everyone wins.
When: December 16
Where: Raffles Dubai
- 1 of 128